The Wild Life

Peter and I spent the last month in Florida, living the wild life. Are you imagining us playing beach volleyball while wearing our thong bathing suits, and drinking margaritas all night on outdoor patios? Well forgetaboutit!

But we did enjoy the other kind of wildlife…

For example, the view from our lanai: for those of you who have not visited the sunshine state, a “lanai” is he local term for screened-in porch. We enjoyed breakfast out there every morning, and drinks with friends before dinner. The lanai faced a body of water referred to by the resort brochure as a lake, but it was more the size of a pond or, in these dry times, a puddle. There were 5 such lakes on the property.

We wondered if there were fish in our lake because we often saw a man standing patiently with his fishing rod. He told us he caught small-mouth bass, and followed the catch-and-release protocol. We never actually saw this happen but he was there on several occasions. We also found a small fishing boat hidden among the shrubs, looking forlorn and useless. Maybe there had been fishing in the lakes at one time, before climate change.

The many birds hanging around the lake were distantly-related to the heron family. We saw cormorants diving aggressively into the water for food. We watched graceful white egrets stretching their long necks up or hiding them under their shoulder, a useful trick I wish I could master! And we caught a brief glimpse of a little blue heron, all glistening in different shades of navy, slate, and silver. But we kept watching for a peek at a special one – a pink spoonbill. I spent a lot of time running from lake to lake, hoping to get a photo for you, dear readers. But I was unsuccessful.

Until…one morning Peter called me to the window. “Sue, I think it’s here… the one you’re looking for… it’s pink!” I rushed outside, grabbing my phone and zipping up my housecoat. Quietly I tiptoed closer and closer, taking photos as I went. The spoonbill was a very good subject, striking all sorts of poses for my lens, and she hung around our lake for most of the day. (I apologize to anyone whom I have offended by naming this bird a “she” but she did look feminine in pink… Or maybe she is a “he” since male birds usually are more colourful than their female partners. This gender identity is all so confusing. )

The lakes attracted other forms of wildlife. We often saw turtles swimming and tortoises sunning themselves on the rocky shoreline in the afternoon sun. We sometimes noticed tiny geckos hanging on the outside of the screens in our lanai, and we had to step around them as we walked on the paths. Once we jumped back in surprise as a garden snake slithered past us on our way to the grocery store.

And of course you are hoping we saw alligators in the lakes. There were rumors about that, and I would love to tell you that one chased us across the grass. But the best I can do is relate the local lore about “Hunchie.” He was a 15-foot monster who lived on a nearby golf course. Many golfers gave up balls, golf balls that is, rather than do battle with Hunchie.

There was one other bird-like creature that we saw near our lake, but nobody seemed to recognize it. So, this morning, instead of doing Wordle, why don’t you figure out what kind of creature this is? Thanks!


Mystery bird

9 thoughts on “The Wild Life

  1. Welcome back to Toronto Nana! I have a question about the lakes. How big were they? Because at first I thought maybe 10m wide, but then I read about the fishing boat!


    1. HI Agnes;
      I think the lakes were about 25-100 meters long – some were bigger than others. The fishing boat had not been used in a long time. Maybe it was only used in the ocean.
      Love Nana


  2. That looks like a Muscovy duck…a domestic breed.
    You seem to have egrets and herons in your life wherever you go (thinking of the Humber)…your totem bird?


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